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Deaths at Texas Railroad Crossings Rising, Despite State Safety Plan

What’s the deal with vehicle collisions at train crossings in Texas recently? Deaths from these collisions have greatly increased in the past year, after a dramatic drop as Texas implemented a federally mandated plan at improving railroad crossing safety.

The Associated Press reported that at least 32 people died in 2012 at railroad crossings in Texas. For the previous four years, the state had averaged just 20 deaths a year. That followed two years in which the number of deaths were 34 and 44.

The situation in Texas is in contrast to a national decrease in crossing deaths over the past five years, including 2012.

It would seem the blame lies either with the railroads, the vehicles crossing the tracks, or more likely both. Or it’s possible the increase in deaths in 2012 is just a statistical fluke. That would be the best situation, because then we could go back to the decreased level of previous years, without taking additional actions.

Critics of the motorists say too many people try to cross the tracks when it’s too late to make it safely, just to save the time of waiting for the train to pass. Perhaps some drivers don’t realize that trains can’t easily slow down to allow a vehicle to get across the tracks. There is also the problem of people who choose this gruesome method to commit suicide.

Critics of the railroads say the companies are increasing the speed of trains without adjusting the timing of crossing signals and crossing arms.

I don’t know who is right, but I’m going to be hoping for better news for 2013.

Bob Kraft

I am a Dallas, Texas lawyer who has had the privilege of helping thousands of clients since 1971 in the areas of Personal Injury law and Social Security Disability.

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The title of this blog reflects my attitude toward those government agencies and insurance companies that routinely mistreat injured or disabled people. As a Dallas, Texas lawyer, I've spent more than 45 years trying to help those poor folk, and I have been frustrated daily by the actions of the people on the other side of their claims. (Sorry if I offended you...)

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